The poker world remains in shock after the death of German poker pro Johannes Strassmann this past week in Slovenia.
The body of the 29-year-old was found in a river in the capital of Ljubljana where he had arrived to spend time with friends and lead a poker coaching seminar. He had been missing for several days.
According to local police there was no violence involved. The results of the postmortem examination were not published but Strassmann was known to be a determined sportsman who didn’t use drugs and rarely drank alcohol.
His close friend Duc Ngo accompanied Johannes’ mother to Slovenia to identify the body and take care of the necessary arrangements. On a Facebook group called “Missing Johannes Strassmann,” that had been set up to aid in the search for Strassmann, Duc wrote:
"we are all endless sorry to confirm that our friend Johannes Strassmann is dead. The death time was Saturday midnight. There was no indication of a violence impact.
"Death cause is drowning. It was a terrible accident. Johannes was not involved in an illegal poker game. He was just visiting some old friends here in Ljubljana. Everything was just fine until this accident."
A legacy of joy, inspiration and admiration.
Strassmann: Popular, Inspirational and Determined
The poker community has lost a very popular, inspirational and determined member and the reality of the tragedy is only begining to sink in. Writes Robin Scherr in the PokerStars blog:
"The fact that Johannes won’t be at the poker tables anymore, and that he can’t fulfill (t)his dream, is simply not understandable for me and many colleagues. It is sad reality."
For a long time Strassmann had been a regular on the European Poker Tour (he is still 10th in the all-time leaderboard), the TV show German High Roller, and at the World Series of Poker.
He was also a VIP guest at the 2013 PokerListings Battle of Malta, which he was going to visit again this year.
Many poker players have expressed their condolences via the media. Battle of Malta tournament director Ivonne Montealegre's thoughts are below:
"Johannes was an unconditional friend, an eternal optimist. His friendship will keep making those of us that had the pleasure of knowing him better, stronger people.
"The way he inspired his peers was contagious. Full of optimism, his views on life at such a young age always startled me. His loving advice was always gentle and spot on. On a professional level, he helped me without restrictions or interest.
"He was a true supporter of our event Battle of Malta, as he loved the relaxed atmosphere and the way he could just hang out with other poker players and discuss for hours games, strategy, his favourite prop bets and 'Jungle' stories. He believed in the tournament, but mostly he believed in me, when others doubted, scorned and conspired.
"Pure friendship like that, just like that… He had the ability and gift to empathize and care for the person sitting next to him like few people I’ve met.
"Dearest friend, that’s all I have to share for now. I’ll raise a glass for your 30th birthday this year and, as always, I’ll keep you in my thoughts and transform the pain of your departure into light.
"Keep shining Johannes!
"Forever missed, and never forgotten."
Poker Pro Johannes Strassmann Confirmed Deceased in Slovenia
29-year-old German poker pro Johannes Strassmann has been confirmed deceased following a week-long missing-person case in Slovenia.
Strassmann was reported missing in Ljubljana on Saturday June 21 after dissapearing from the city's old town while out with a group of local poker players he had been coaching.
The following Friday a body was found in the Ljubljana River and was positively identified as Strassmann by DNA analysis.
Strassmann was a highly respected member of the poker community and was regularly found playing live poker tournaments around the world. His final tournament result was just a few months ago at EPT Monte Carlo where he finished 50th in the main event.
Slovenian police issued the following statement after completing the DNA analysis:
On June 22, 2014, Police directorate Ljubljana got the report about a missing person, a 29-year-old German citizen. The German citizen had been missing since 10 p.m. on June 21, 2014.
Gornji trg [street] in Ljubljana was the last location where the 29-year-old German citizen had been seen. The Slovenian police started to investigate immediately.
During the investigation, the police officers checked several different locations in Ljubljana (hospitals, hotels, abandoned buildings, Ljubljanica River...) with a help of a helicopter, police dogs, and police boat. At the same time, we promptly checked all the information gathered from our citizens.
A male body was discovered yesterday (Friday) morning in the Ljubljanica River.
National Forensic Laboratory has identified (by DNA test) the man who was found dead in the Ljubljanica River as a 29-year-old German citizen who had been missing.
The criminal police investigators excluded a violent criminal offence. The laboratory tests of bodily fluids are still ongoing.
Strassmann Search Continues; Unidentified Body Pulled From River
While the search continues for missing poker pro Johannes Strassmann, Slovenian police have pulled an unidentified man's body from the Ljubljanica River in Llubljana.
According to Slovenian media reports the body was found on the banks of the river early this morning but due to its condition DNA testing is required to ascertain its identity.
Duc Ngo, a friend of Strassmann's who has traveled to Ljubljana to aid in the search, posted the following update to the Missing Johannes Strasmann Facebook page (Translated by Bing):
"To all friends... I am now ahead in Ljubljana and sister met with the mother and the two. Unfortunately, there were no good news today when I arrived.
"It was found a male body of water in the morning, but this is so swollen and disfigured, you say no could meet, whether it is Johannes. now, we have to wait 24 h - 48 h on a dna analysis. but as long as there is no clear indication, we will continue with the search.
"of course, we hope that the note yesterday that should have called someone in the woods, is true and that body swollen up would not (be Johannes). Please let us all pray for Johannes and his family."
Police say the DNA results are expected within 24-48 hours. Strassmann was reported missing on June 22, 24 hours after friends say he ducked down an alleyway late at night in the capital of Ljubljana without warning.
A later report suggested a German voice was heard in a nearby forest saying, "I'm here, I'm hungry" while friends searched for him but no one could be found.
Strange Twist Leads to Forest in Search for Missing Strassmann
An unexpected twist has lead investigators to a forested area in Llubljana, Slovenia, in the continuing search for missing German poker pro Johannes Strassmann.
Reported missing on June 22 after disappearing down an alleyway the night before around 10 pm, friends and police have been frantically searching the nearby area for any traces of the 29-year-old.
A Facebook page was created by friends Nace Panic and Duc Ngo in support of the search, to which Panic posted the following message three hours ago:
"Super intesive action going on someone in the forest responded twhen friends called out for him by name in english with german acent : "i m here , i m hungry" then vanished when they went to look in direction of the sound but there was noone, so exstensive search is goin on now..
"helicopters again lots of police with lots of dogs.. Lets hope for the best , i ll keep u updated.."
Forested Area Heavily Damaged By Winter Storm
The search is currently centralized in that area although according to another update from a friend named Žarko, the area was recently severely damaged by a winter storm and is difficult to navigate.
Police patrol units with tracking dogs are also on the scene. Updates can be found on the Missing Johannes Strassman Facebook page. Family members have arrived in Llubljana to help with the search and Strassmann's apartment in Vienna has been visited by police.
UPDATE, JUNE 27 9 PM CET Slovenian police have pulled the body of a man from the river in Llubljana. It is NOT confirmed to be Strassmann as it is unidentifiable and DNA testing is required. Reults are expected within 24-48 hours.
UPDATE, JUNE 26 10 PM CET: A new update on the FB page has indicated a reported sighting of Strassmann in the city of Nova Gorica, 100km west of Llubljana. The sighting is unconfirmed but police are following up.